Serological Survey for Antibodies toEncephalitozoon cuniculiin Ownerless Dogs From Urban Areas of Brazil and Colombia

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Abstract

There are 3 strains of Encephalitozoon cuniculi that occur in mammals. Strain III is associated with clinical disease in dogs, although some can be asymptomatic carriers and excrete spores in their urine. Several cases of human E. cuniculi infection caused by strain III have been observed in immunocompromised patients, indicating that E. cuniculi should be considered a zoonotic agent. Encephalitozoon cuniculi can cause fatal disease in maternally-infected or young dogs. Clinical signs in these animals included blindness, encephalitis, retarded growth rate, and nephritis. Encephalitozoon cuniculi has also been associated with primary renal failure in adult dogs. The present study used the direct agglutination test (DAT, cut-off 1:50) and the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT, cut-off 1:10) to examine the prevalence of antibodies to E. cuniculi in dogs from Brazil and Colombia. Using the DAG, 31 (27.4%) of 113 dogs from Brazil and 47 (18.5%) of 254 dogs from Colombia were seropositive. Nine (14.3%) of 63 dogs from Brazil and 18 (35.3%) of the 51 dogs from Colombia were seropositive by indirect immunofluorescent antibody test. These results indicate that dogs from Brazil and Colombia are exposed to E. cuniculi.

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